Bolt cuts 6,000 dodgy drivers

Bolt recently announced that it had blocked over 6,000 drivers from its platform for misconduct to improve the safety of its ride-hailing service.

Speaking to 702, Western Cape E-hailing Association chair Siyabonga Hlabisa said the organisation was shocked by the statement and wants Bolt to investigate riders as well.

“We were shocked when Bolt released the statement about the 6,000 blocked drivers,” said Hlabisi.

“We contacted them and they clarified that there was an issue of compliance. A big concern from my side is that they should do the same thing to riders as soon as possible.”

He indicated that many riders on Bolt’s platform may be non-compliant.

When asked what he meant by drivers not being compliant, Hlabisa said “suspicious” and “fraudulent” documents were being used, and some users created fake accounts.

This, combined with reports of drivers — or criminals posing as drivers — robbing ride-hailers, meant that Bolt had to intervene and look into its drivers.

“I think that’s why they went deeper. Bolt has been in the spotlight for other issues concerning drivers and riders,” said Hlabisa.

Bolt released a statement in early June 2024, announcing that it had permanently blocked 6,000 drivers from its platforms over the past six months.

It said the drivers were blocked due to non-compliance and safety-related issues.

“This move is part of Bolt’s ongoing commitment to providing top safety infrastructure within the ride-hailing industry,” it added.

This includes the safety of drivers and riders. Bolt said it will continue to block drivers and riders who are reported for misconduct.

According to Bolt’s acting head of regulatory and policy in Africa, Wyinmi Aghadiuno, the company is taking proactive steps to ensure the well-being of riders and drivers.

“We believe that one incident is too many, and we want to ensure that our platform consists of top-rated drivers, which will result in a better overall ride experience,” she added.

Bolt said blocking drivers is just one step the company takes to ensure safety on its platform.

One example is its emergency assist feature, which it offers in partnership with the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA).

“Bolt offers an emergency response service in its app that shares driver details and location with AA’s 24/7 contact centre, deploying security and emergency services immediately,” it said.

Bolt’s platform includes trip audio recording, which riders and drivers can use to record trips for safety. They can submit recordings to Bolt’s customer support channels.

It also introduced Trip Monitoring, through which the app proactively engages riders and drivers when a vehicle is stationary for an extended period.

Bolt will prompt customers and drivers to see if they are okay, and they can tap the “Yes, I am okay” button should there be no concern.

The ride-hailing platform is currently testing a rider verification feature that will require new customers to upload a selfie and an ID, which Bolt verifies before allowing ride orders.

Bolt has also implemented stricter compliance measures for drivers to enforce platform guidelines.

“Any driver or rider found violating safety standards or non-compliant will face swift and decisive consequences, including permanent suspension from the platform,” it said.

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Bolt cuts 6,000 dodgy drivers